Snazzy Demon Blasters and High-Tech Boomsticks

Hey! So guess who forgot about making a new dev-blog post…so much for that semi-monthly schedule :P

We’ve been fairly busy working on the project since the re-announcement back in early May. Lots of progress has been made on many fronts, including mapping. After that last dev-blog entry, we we’re trying to figure out what the next one should be about. And since Cage had been making some amazing progress on the weapon artwork, we decided to talk a bit about the new weapons in Supplice.

By the way, check out Cage’s Corner for more artwork-focused stuff; I’ll toss a link to the site in the sidebar. Cage has already done a sprite time-lapse video of the weapon pickup sprites (which you can watch at the end of this post), and he will likely be making more Supplice-related artwork posts there soon. Check it out!

Early on in the project’s development, before we moved to ZDoom, I had plans for making slight weapon behavior alterations to the original Doom arsenal. Doom’s weapons are great – they are satisfying to use and they each fulfill a purpose without too much overlap. Some might say that tampering with their behaviors is tantamount to altering the gameplay entirely. I agree with that to an extent, but mostly within the context of the original game. When it comes to custom content, namely new maps, I feel like you get a bit more leeway messing around with Doom’s weapons.

Early Rifle sprite, showcased in one of the old texture test maps.

Early Rifle sprite, showcased in one of the old texture test maps.

The original plans for the weapon alterations went as follows:

  • The Pistol got replaced with a slightly faster (sub-Chaingun speed) Rifle with perfect accuracy. If there’s one weapon I dislike in Doom, it’s the Pistol. It feels unwieldy and pathetic…by design, I imagine, but otherwise the slot it occupies needed something a bit more useful. A faster firing, highly accurate hitscan weapon rounds out the arsenal so you don’t have to drop a Shotgun super early into the map to keep players from getting frustrated. It also makes low HP, long range targets much easier to deal with.
  • The Chainsaw got an upgrade, allowing it to do double damage through doubling the firing rate. The idea here was to make the Chainsaw feel a bit more useful, and in turn making it more of a sought after weapon (giving the mapper some impetus to place it in more interesting ways). This was a change that I wanted to test out a bit before following through, because it can inadvertently make certain encounters a lot easier (ie. you will stunlock Cacos and Demons with ease). Basically though, I wanted a powerful melee weapon which, besides the Berserk, doesn’t really exist in Doom.
  • Somewhat in the same vein as the Pistol, the Chaingun was getting an upgrade to a Minigun. This was a very simple change here – the firing rate was doubled and then I increased the max bullet ammo capacity by +50/100. The idea was to bring the Chaingun up to parity with the SSG (in a sense, the Rifle was meant to be somewhat level with the Shotgun…so same idea). A faster Chaingun doesn’t really change its behavior at the core, it just makes it better at what it does normally. That being a gun that works well to mow down low-mid HP enemies and stun higher HP enemies.
  • The Rocket Launcher got a slightly faster flying projectile. Initially this was meant to be a Cyberdemon buff; I wanted a more dangerous Cyberdemon with rockets that took a bit more focus to dodge. But I quickly learned that, in Boom’s DEHACKED at least, the Rocket-in-Flight object is shared between the player and the Cyberdemon, and there’s no way to decouple the two. So if I wanted to make the Cyber’s rocket faster, I had to make the player’s faster as well. After trying it out, I liked the change as it made the Rocket Launcher a little more fun to use at longer ranges…and hey, if the Cyber gets faster rockets, why not Doomguy too?

I dabbled a bit with some other experimental changes, especially after moving the project to MBF, but nothing else really stuck. There was an attempt to create a new weapon using MBF’s Beta BFG behavior, but I’m not sure it would have went anywhere. If it would have worked, I was planning on replacing the Chainsaw with some sort of super secret weapon (akin to something like the Unmaker from Doom 64).

So the general idea was to give a bit more utility to some weapons while also buffing others. Mapping and item/monster placements, as well as the general difficulty curve, was going to be molded around these changes as well. On the whole, these are pretty mild changes, and I didn’t really want to get much crazier with them considering the original scope of the project.

Then fast forward to not so long after we moved to ZDoom, and the weapon roster looks quite a bit different.

old shotgun render test

A shot from an old 3D model sprite render test for the Shotgun.

After our move to ZDoom, I had a few goals that I wanted to achieve with the weapons in Supplice. First, I wanted to preserve certain aspects of the arsenal. There had to be a shotgun of some kind, a minigun/chaingun, a rocket launcher, and of course the BFG must persist. Secondly, I wanted to reduce behavior overlaps as much as possible, and where overlap exists I wanted there to be some kind of trade-off. Third, the weapons needed to be not frustrating to use and play against in Deathmatch. And fourth, I wanted them to be fun, interesting, and refreshing…if we’re going to have new weapons, they need to be fun!

We discussed a bunch of ideas, some of which were a bit crazy. But after a bit of convincing on my behalf for some of my more controversial ideas, we finally settled on a set of behaviors that we all seemed to like (though there are still a few rough edges here and there, which will eventually get ironed out). The Supplice arsenal is 10 weapons strong. Each ammo type (melee, bullet, shell, incendiary, and cell) has 2 weapons, and each weapon has an alternate-fire mode (think of Unreal). The alt-fire behaviors expand the arsenal to something way more varied than the original Doom arsenal, even though we’ve only got 1 extra weapon overall.

Blah blah blah goals, blah blah blah behaviors…ok here are the weapons of Supplice!


Melee

Fist

Fist

Fist

A clenched ball of meat and bone. This is the same as the vanilla Doom Fist behavior-wise. The only difference will be its sprite, which isn’t done yet.

This is the only weapon, so far, that doesn’t have an alternate firing mode. We’ve talked a bit about possible alternate firing modes, but at the moment I’m not sure the fist will have one.

Pilebunker

Pilebunker

Pilebunker

Being a terraformer, our protagonist has access to this mining tool turned weapon. The Pilebunker is a multi-purpose melee weapon inspired by Doom’s Chainsaw. It has a set of rotating drill heads which dig into rock (and for our uses, demon flesh). It does damage similar to the vanilla chainsaw, but it’s a bit more powerful. The alternate firing mode is where its name comes from. Holding down the firing button will charge up the weapon; releasing it will fire out an explosive melee ‘spike’, which does tons of damage to a single target (possibly at the cost of an incendiary round, but that’s not certain yet). At full charge, the weapon also fires out a ‘pressure wave’ projectile which pierces enemies and gives the attack a bit more range.


Bullet

Assault Rifle

Assault Rifle

Assault Rifle

assaultrifle_render_db

Your starting weapon, and much more substantial than a puny pistol. The Assault Rifle offers good firepower with decent accuracy at a firing rate that’s below the vanilla Chaingun but faster than the Pistol. It is more accurate than the Pistol as well, allowing you to take out longer ranged targets a bit easier.

The alternate fire mode fires out a super burst of tracer rounds at an overall slower firing rate which works well to snipe enemies at even longer ranges. This weapon is meant to offer up just the right amount of firepower and utility for a player when they are just starting out, or if they find themselves low on ammo. It also gives the player a decent long-range option to start off.

Minigun

Minigun

Minigun

minigun_render_db

The Minigun is your standard, high-powered bullet munching machine. On the surface, its a beefed-up Chaingun, but the behavior is a tiny bit more complex. There’s a short spin-up time before the weapon reaches full firing speed. Accuracy degrades as the firing rate increases, making it much less useful at longer ranges when firing at full speed. Ideally the spin-up time will be something that player can take advantage of, allowing them to purposefully ‘tap’ the fire button to get a higher accuracy shots at slower firing rates if needed. The Minigun spits out a ton of damage and will chew through low HP enemies with ease. Even higher HP enemies will have issues with its stun-lock potential.

The alternate fire behavior for the Minigun is actually one that’s still somewhat up in the air at the moment. We’ve got 3 ideas that we’re trying to settle on:

1. Auto-turret mode – When pressing the alt-fire button, the Minigun is removed from the player’s inventory and is placed on a tripod. It will then start targeting and firing at enemies on its own. Enabling this mode removes a certain chunk of bullet ammo from the player’s inventory as well; once that ammo is used up by the auto-turret, it drops and turns back into a pickup-able weapon. There’s some details here that need ironing out still.

2. Tracer round burst fire – This mode fires out 6 projectile bullet ‘tracer’ rounds in a very tight spread with perfect accuracy. It’s meant to be a beefed up version of the Assault Rifle’s alt-fire behavior. Kind of boring but pretty useful.

3. Auto-rev – Enabling this starts the barrels spinning, offering instant full-power shots right from the get-go. The drawback is that the accuracy is even worse in this mode and enabling auto-rev will also alert demons without even firing the weapon.


Shell

Combat Shotgun

Combat Shotgun

Combat Shotgun

combatshotgun_render_db

A highly versatile tri-barrel shotgun weapon, a staple weapon for close-quarters combat. The primary fire offers vanilla-Doom style shotgun blasts but at a slightly higher rate of fire thanks to the mechanized rotating barrel design. The alternate fire blasts buckshot from all three barrels at once with a very wide scatter pattern, very much like the vanilla SSG but at the cost of one more shell per shot. Out of all the new weapons, I figure this one is going to be the one that most oldschool Doomer’s will either love or hate. The entire idea here was to consolidate the shotguns of Doom into one weapon, making it extremely versatile and allowing us to come up with something unique for the secondary shell-ammo weapon. No longer will you have to ponder whether to take a couple of seconds to switch from your SSG to your Shotgun to blast away that lowly Imp ;)

Slugger

Slugger

Slugger

slugger_render_db

The Slugger is a heavy-duty beast of a weapon. It packs the same punch as a SSG at point blank range, but without the buckshot-like spread. As its name suggests, the Slugger fires two shotgun slugs (essentially big freakin’ bullets) which do the same amount of impact damage as a point-blank shotgun blast. They have very good accuracy meaning it can be used at ranges that a normal shotgun can’t reach. However all of the damage is focused into a single projectile, so it will suffer when taking on groups of enemies. At extreme close ranges, the slugs do extra damage, giving a risk/reward incentive for player’s who like to get close and comfy to enemies like Baron’s of Hell.

The true firepower of the Slugger lies in its alternate firing mode. Each press of the alt-fire button will load an additional two slugs into the weapon (at the cost of a loading animation), for a max of 8 total slugs. You can then blast away all of the slugs in a quick staggered fire, doing tons of burst damage.


Incendiary

Rocket Revolver

Rocket Revolver

Rocket Revolver

rocketrevolver_render_db

An advanced take on the old style Rocket Launcher. The Rocket Revolver fires high-speed rockets at the same pace as the old Rocket Launcher. The revolver design allows for the weapon to handle the extra stresses of the higher-powered rockets.

The alternate firing mode fires out impact cluster grenades. These grenades can bounce off of walls and will explode upon impact with the floor/ceiling or an enemy/object. The cluster bomblets allow for a wider range of explosive radius damage. The grenade also does a bit more damage than a direct rocket, but it has much less range and can be a potential hazard to unwary users.

Cremator

Cremator

Cremator

cremator_render_db

A highly destructive flamethrower which will incinerate all but the most hardy of enemies in short order. It has very short range and it eats through ammo very quickly, but it works well if you find yourself surrounded and you need a way out. The primary fire is meant to be extremely powerful at the cost of range and ammo; it will chew through your incendiary ammo much faster than the Rocket Revolver. The alternate fire shoots out a blob of dense, flammable acrid gas. Upon impact, it bursts into a cloud of lingering gas which slowly does damage to anything within it. This gas blob can be lit on fire which turns it into an intense fireball. When this fireball impacts a wall or enemy, it explodes into flames, doing much more damage than the gas with the drawback of it not lasting nearly as long. The secondary fire should be very useful to area of denial and as a way to do damage over very large areas, much larger than normal explosives.


Cell

Plasma Blaster

Plasma Blaster

Plasma Blaster

plasmablaster_render_db

The Plasma Blaster is an enhanced version of the vanilla Plasma Gun. It still excels at doing high damage to single targets or doing crowd control, but it has been given more abilities to deal with groups of enemies and long-range targets.

It’s primary firing mode has been modified so that it can better take on clusters of enemies. The plasma projectile that it fires explodes into plasma static upon impact, doing extra damage to surrounding enemies. The projectiles also do a tiny bit more damage and fly a bit faster, however this comes at the cost of a slightly reduced firing rate. The alternate firing mode fires out an extremely fast moving plasma ‘arrow’, which cuts through enemies and does small explosive damage upon impact with hard surfaces. This plasma arrow is great for dealing with long-range targets and rows of enemies, as it pierces and is the fastest flying projectile in the game.

BFG9000-L

BFG9000-L

BFG9000-L

bfg9kl_render_db

Still the same room-clearing legend as before, but now with extra enhancements to make it even more powerful and ridiculous! The ‘L’ refers to its main enhancement – Lightning

The primary firing mode shoots out an enhanced BFG plasma ball. This plasma ball is super-charged and flies through the air with electrical bolts popping out of it, doing extra damage to enemies that are near its trajectory. The BFG also fires out an extremely high-powered lightning bolt from the muzzle of the weapon at the same time, making it extra deadly when being fired at close range.

The alternate firing mode fires out a smaller ball of plasma for half the ammo cost. This projectile is similar to the normal BFG projectile, however it paralyzes all enemies with electricity for a few seconds, allowing the player to either escape or find a better firing angle with the primary firing mode. One possible addition we’ve considered is giving this projectile a gravity-well behavior where it will also pull enemies closer together, thus making the primary fire even more deadly, or allowing you to manipulate monster locations to create an escape route.


And there you have it, the weapons of Supplice (more or less)! Some things are still subject to change, of course, as everything is still actively being worked on. But this is probably very close to what the weapon arsenal will look like in the finished project. (Note that the first-person views are raw renders and are going to be painted over later on)

You’ll probably notice a general trend towards power buffing across the board. This is intentional since the rest of the gameplay will follow suit; there will be more resistance and more difficult encounters on the whole compared to the original games. I am going to be careful about preserving certain ‘vanilla’ aspects of the weapons. For example, a normal shotgun blast will do roughly the same damage as vanilla, a rocket will do the same damage, etc. There’s definitely a balance that we want to preserve since this is still meant to be Doom.

I’ll try to get a new dev-blog post up not so long from now. There are a few more things that I can talk about, including the new monsters, new powerups, or the general setting and theme of Supplice’s episodes. A mapping-focused dev-blog post will come eventually as well.

Finally, I’ll leave you guys with a time-lapse video of Cage working on the weapon pick-up sprites. It’s really neat to watch and I highly recommend it to anyone who might be interested in some spriting tips!

Thanks for reading! If your interested in discussing this dev-blog post, check out the discussion thread HERE.

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